Making a will is an important aspect of a person’s life. It gives certainty to family members, as to distribution. However, the laws are very critical, in terms of who can and cannot make a Will. As it is the distribution of assets, you have to be of sound mind, in...
On any divorce, it is a complex situation in terms of what any spouse is entitled to. Often a spouse believes, that if they put more into the marriage, in terms of financial contributions, that entitles that person to more.
Equally a spouse may take the view, that because they put in certain non-financial contributions in helping the marriage, that amounts to more.
How do the courts decide?
The courts have a list of criteria, that they use, in order to split up the assets. Within the Matrimonial Causes Act, that is a list of criteria which includes the matters set out below. However, the starting point is always at the 50/50 mark. The reason for this, is that financial contributions are equally as important as non-financial contributions. In respect of non-financial contributions, a spouse may have spent a great deal of time looking after children while the other spouse has built a career.
Equally one spouse may have built a career by substantial financial contributions, allowing the spouse to have certain level of lifestyle that, that person may not have ordinarily have had.
In these situations, there is a difficult balancing exercise for the court. Some of the factors, that the courts take into account are:
- Who will look after children who are under the age of 18 or 21? The considerations here, are in terms of housing and also financial need for not only one person, but a number of others.
- What are the housing needs of each party? For example, if one person already has a home which they inherited or belongs to another family member which they can live in, that can be taken into account.
- What was the lifestyle that the parties had led during the course of the marriage? The courts will take into account, the level of lifestyle, that the parties had led. For example, if the parties were used to a number of holidays throughout the year, the court will try to get close to that, if the finances permit.
- What is the earning capacity of each individual? Again, if one individual has a significant earning capacity and the other doesn’t, the court will look to strike a balance in terms of any form of maintenance or balancing exercise, where possible.
Divorce and the finances are a complex area. Take professional legal advice, to make sure, that you obtain your full rights. Do not enter into any negotiations, without full knowledge of what your rights are.